A Vision For Collaboration

I’m a visionary, I always have been. I see a world that can be so much more than it is now, a world that can achieve it’s potential with just a little guidance. That’s why I’m so heavily involved in Protospace, because I want to make a change, even if it’s just through one innovative tinkerer at a time!

In the last few weeks, my eyes have been open to some amazing organizations and initiatives locally in Calgary. Some in the list below I’ve known about for a while, but have only recently learned that they are not alone in their drive for change in this evolving city. Here’s my compilation of a few amazing groups, events and initiatives that I’ve only just been exposed to and all of which either already have ties to Protospace or might become involved with us in the future:

  • Social Good Accelerator – A group of individuals and organizations that want to see big things happen in Calgary through innovation and creativity. Similar to The HiVE in Vancouver or The Hub in Halifax, the dream is to create a collaborative work area that includes anchor tenants, rent-able workshops or offices, a coffee shop and a large collaborative area to bring the thinkers and movers of Calgary together under one roof. Ideally, Protospace could become a staple tenant in this endeavor and act as a boot strapping mechanism for the rest of the community.
  • Calgary Arts Factory – An awesome side project of CADA, this place will be an open work environment for the artists of Calgary. The hope is to provide a facility and tools for those who would otherwise not have access, very similar to the purpose behind Protospace. You may not know, but Protospace caters to nerds and artists alike (most artists are hackers, though they may not think of themselves that way).
  • Endeavor Arts – An awesome new art gallery owned by our good friend Shannon, Endeavor wants to showcase artists and projects that are extremely innovative and original. It just so happens that utilizing technology is one of the best ways to come up with inspiring creations, thus Endeavor Arts has as soft spot for geeks. We’ve partnered with Shannon for some fantastic events already and are planning many more in the future!
  • Awesome Calgary – A fantastic local micro-financing initiative to provide resources to creative projects local to Calgary. Some of Protospace’s members and partners have submitted their ideas to Awesome Calgary and some have received the $1000 prize in addition to the 1000 Calgary Dollars. Once I have some spare time, I’m definitely submitting a project or two :)
  • Calgary’s Illuminated Landscapes – I met Claudia and Vlad at Awesome Calgary when they won with their LED project idea. They wanted to light up Calgary for a light after Choose yer Own, so Protospace decided to help! We connected them with Solarbotics and then helped teach random people to solder during the event! I really enjoyed this, I hope another similar opportunity comes up soon!
  • Choose Yer Own – An epic journey of creativity and improvisation that happens in Calgary during the month of August. One of our Members, Dana, is instrumental in putting this on and does it because she loves to see people interacting with each other and enjoying themselves! If you have not participated in this before, I highly advise to do so next year!
  • Calgary Municipal Land Corporation – These guys are a distant arm of the City of Calgary created to redevelop the East Village. We have spoken with one of their representatives about Protospace and our plans to host a Maker Faire in Calgary mid June, in which they may let us use the riverfront in East Village for the faire!
  • Calgary Arts Development – Andrew and I spoke with Reed from CADA a few months back, pitching our new platform to them in hopes that Protospace could team up with CADA in one of the new arts buildings in Calgary. It was determined that our tech vibe didn’t quite fit the arts bill, so we had to set out on our own and get the space we just moved into. We hope to speak with CADA more in the future as we are not just hackers – we’re makers, artists, hobbyists, technologists, students, DIYers and innovators!
  • The Calgary Foundation – Catch line is “Community Vitality is our purpose, promise, and passion. Since 1955, we’ve been helping Calgarians invest in building a strong and resilient place to live, work, play and grow.” Sounds similar to our goals, yet on a much grander scale.
  • Transform King Edward – A vision to preserve a historic site by turning it into an arts incubator. Supported by The Calgary Foundation and Calgary Arts Development, the goal is to support artists and organizations through providing offices, meeting rooms and studios. A great initiative that I am so glad to see get off the ground!
  • Pecha Kucha Calgary – Think TED Talks, but think local. I’ve only been to one Pecha Kucha night so far, but I loved the presentations and the people who were in attendance. Movers attract movers, and when movers amass together, things start moving! (Who’d have thought?)
  • Calgary2012 – It seems that Calgary wants to become some sort of Cultural Center of the West in the year 2012. I think this is a great idea, but it will fail as many corporate endeavors do if they do not properly engage the community. Because the idea is so big, I hope they utilize the resources above to drive change instead of doing it by themselves :)

Perhaps these are old news to some, but so many Calgarians have no idea that these exist! We are no longer a town full of corporate oil executives and small town hicks, we have over 1 million people who are waking up to their surroundings to realize that they can be something different. My lofty goal is to see Protospace exist as a bootstrapping mechanism not only for individuals and their projects, but for the culture within Calgary. To help drive the innovation, collaboration and change by becoming a think-tank resource for building community. Maybe this is possible, but maybe we’re ahead of our time. Other hackerspaces already have a huge effect on the communities they reside in – why can’t we?

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